Bill to Allow Tax Agency to Honor Divorce Agreements Passes Assembly Committee
Senator Jean Fuller and I have partnered with Board of Equalization Members George Runner and Fiona Ma to author Senate Bill 526, legislation that gives the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) broader authority to consider a legal divorce agreement when determining joint tax liability. I’m pleased to announce SB 526 passed the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee earlier this month.
The Board of Equalization often hears income tax appeals from taxpayers whose divorce agreement states the other party is responsible for a tax liability incurred during marriage. They believe they are protected from liability by a court approved divorce agreement only to discover they must return to court to enforce the agreement or pay the tax liability owed by an ex-spouse. Most of these cases involve women. By giving the FTB broader authority to consider a divorce agreement when determining tax liability, SB 526 will help ease the financial burden of spouses who have no legal obligation to pay the tax, as stipulated by their divorce agreement.
Forcing taxpayers to go back to court in order to enforce a divorce agreement is inefficient government. An individual should not have to go back to court to keep from paying a tax liability for which they are not responsible. This bill helps real taxpayers who face real challenges.
SB 525 passed the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee with unanimous, bipartisan support and will be heard next in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
Governor Brown’s Budget Proposal
Earlier this month, Governor Jerry Brown unveiled his budget proposal for the 2016-2017 fiscal year.
Overall, I respect Governor Brown’s commitment to continue investing in California’s rainy day fund while avoiding additional permanent spending. However, I am disappointed Governor Brown’s budget fails to adequately deal with the significant issue of California’s crumbling transportation infrastructure and plays a shell game with the cost of healthcare.
Instead of addressing these problems, Governor Brown is leaving it to the Legislature to raise taxes. California’s taxpayers are already overburdened; additional taxes are not an acceptable solution.
I will only support budget policies that promote fiscal responsibility; we need to allocate existing resources to essentials like fixing our transportation infrastructure and increasing water storage. I look forward to working with my colleagues on a budget that moves California in the right direction.
National Blood Donor Month
I have long been a supporter of Donate Life and the work they do to increase organ and tissue donation; but this month I’d like to draw your attention to another kind of important, lifesaving medical advancement: blood and platelet donations.
January is recognized as National Blood Donor Month to highlight the need for blood and platelet donations during winter, which is historically the most difficult time of the year to collect enough donations to meet patient needs.
My office has a personal connection to National Blood Donor Month as my Field Representative Richard Cook is a frequent blood donor and constant advocate for this cause. He began donating blood regularly in 2002 and estimates he has personally donated eight gallons since then.
Richard recently informed me that someone needs blood every two seconds, but less than five percent of the eligible population actually donates.
For information about National Blood Donor Month, or to find out how you can donate, please visit http://www.redcrossblood.org/.
Aerospace Days at the Capitol
2016 marks the fifth year of Aerospace Days at the state Capitol! On February 29th and March 1st, the Capitol will be busy with Aerospace events and activities. My office has played a large role in organizing this event, and I am excited to report there will be exhibits on the West Steps from Aerospace Companies, NASA centers, and other technology companies.
I am proud of California’s rich history in this area, particularly the advancements that have come out of the 21st Senate District.
The 21st Senate District will continue to make aviation history as the U.S. Air Force recently awarded a contract to Northrop Grumman to build a new fleet of long-range stealth planes. Hundreds of the jobs resulting from this $60 billion contract are expected to be in the Antelope Valley, the hub of the aerospace industry.
California’s aerospace industry has long been a great source of innovation and continues to be an important part of our state’s economy. Today, the aerospace industry provides jobs to more than 200,000 California residents and supports more than 500,000 jobs in related fields. Those jobs generate $2.9 billion in annual state income tax revenues.
I look forward to celebrating Aerospace Days and will continue doing what I can to ensure there is growth in this vital industry.
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